“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” said Japanese defense minister Taro Kono.
Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that he has not seen any intelligence indicating Iran was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, contradicting Saudi and Trump administration claims about the incident.
“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Kono said during a press briefing. “We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.”
The only evidence the Trump administration has released to substantiate its claim of Iranian responsibility are satellite photos that experts said are not clear enough to assign blame. Ret. Gen. Mark Hertling, a CNN intelligence analyst, said the images “really don’t show anything, other than pretty good accuracy on the strike of the oil tanks.”
Kono said Japan, an ally of both Iran and the U.S., is still in the process of determining who was behind the attacks, which were allegedly carried out by drones.
“Given Japan’s strong ties with the U.S. based on the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and the relationship of trust that Japan has with various countries located in the Middle East, Japan is in a position to fulfill a mediating role,” said Kono.
The defense minister’s statement is the second time this year Japan has contradicted the Trump administration’s attempt to pin an attack on Iran with insufficient evidence. In June, as Common Dreams reported, the Trump administration blamed Iran for an explosion that damaged a Japanese oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Yutaka Katada, president of the Japanese company that owns the tanker, publicly disputed the White House’s account of the attack.
Japan is not the only major nation to express skepticism about the Trump administration’s rush to blame Iran for the attacks, which briefly paralyzed Saudi oil production and sent crude prices soaring.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday that he is not aware of evidence demonstrating Iranian involvement, despite claims by U.S. and Saudi officials.
“Up to now France doesn’t have proof permitting it to say that these drones came from such and such a place, and I don’t know if anyone has proof,” said Le Drian. “We need a strategy of de-escalation for the area, and any move that goes against this de-escalation would be a bad move for the situation in the region.”
Supreme Court denies GOP demand to shorten mail-in ballot deadline in North Carolina
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court rejected GOP efforts to reduce the ballot receipt deadline for mail-in voters in North Carolina from nine days to three.
The decision came shortly after the justices also declined to grant a stay blocking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's order extending the deadline in that state.
As in the Pennsylvania ruling, newly minted Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate, and Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh crossed over to deny the GOP's request — although, as legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern noted, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas made clear they wanted the Court to intervene against voting rights.
Biden cares more about the well-being of Trump supporters than Trump himself: MSNBC’s Joy Reid
On MSNBC Wednesday, anchor Joy Reid broke down how Joe Biden has more concern for the health and safety of President Donald Trump's voters than the president does himself.
"There are now just six days left for America to decide who will lead our country for the next four years," said Reid. "Now at a breaking point and desperate for progress on the economy, race relations, and a coronavirus crisis that has taken more than 228,000 lives and infected millions more. In the face of these numbers, Trump continues to utilize his favorite form of gaslighting, which is lying through his teeth on the COVID surge, even getting the so-called White House Science Office to say Trump ended the pandemic, as the nation hits record cases and hospitalizations."
Trump continues to ‘lie to us’ about COVID-19 ending — and his facts don’t add up: report
President Donald J. Trump joked Tuesday about the coronavirus pandemic that's plagued his own country, killing more than 227,000 Americans to date. And, as the death toll from coronavirus in America steadily climbs with every passing day, it has not stopped the 74-year-old commander-in-chief from proclaiming the nation is "rounding the turn."
According to the CDC, the seven-day average of new cases is nearly 70,000 -- a record number that is only expected to get worse. The COVID Tracking Project cites that more than 42,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, up from an estimated 30,000 one month ago.